371 PAGES · £12.99
There can be few things worse than an untimely death, but one would have to be being married to a woman whose first reaction to your corpse sliding down to the ground is to chop off your head and drop it into cryonic stasis. If there’s one thing that The Waking makes clear about this possibility, it’s that you’re probably better off taking your chances in the great beyond.
This is a medical thriller, although in practice it’s the medical half that takes the lion’s share of the book: in true Michael Crichton tradition, there’s a lot of talking doctors, dodgy corporations and subplots rolling around. Where it differs from a Crichton novel is that it’s very concise – a slimline volume, and one that, for once, is actually too short.
Put simply, it’s a “What If” story that largely skirts both the social and human issues in favour of a clinical approach – one that doesn’t lead to a whole lot of fun. The cryonic aspects work on a scientific level, but the human level to the story and the wider Inevitable Conspiracy are too shallow to bring it all to life. There are few mysteries on offer, the characters are cold – no pun intended – and the main character has little choice but to lie back and take the malicious future as it comes, down to evil government agencies with evil robotic anal probes.
The Waking tries to be a thriller, but it’s just not exciting, and the only thing it’s likely to make you think about is just how lucky you are that when your time comes you’ll only go cold the oldfashioned way.